Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

Meetings. We all love them right? On this page you will learn some tips and tricks on how to use Google Calendar and Google Docs to have more productive meetings.

Editing the default event time in

Google Calendar

Parkinson’s Law: Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

Who made the rule that meetings have to be 60 mins? In your Google Calendar you can set the default duration for new events. This is a great way to make sure that you don't over book your day.

In your Google Calendar click on the gear and then settings.

Scroll down to Event Settings. This drop down will allow you to set the default duration for new events. I make all of my new meetings 45 mins long by default and only schedule them on the hour and half hour. This way if the meeting runs long I have a 15 min buffer to either continue the meeting or decompress before my next event.

Creating better calendar invites

Have you ever received a calendar invite like the one on the right? If so chances are you were not 100% clear about what the meeting was about. You know that the meeting is about the Math Curriculum but what about it? Are we thinking about replacing it? Are we looking to possibly modify it? Also where are we meeting? Do we have an agenda? Is there anything that I need to do prior to the meeting?

Now let's check out this calendar invite. The meeting has the same title but the invite now includes more information. Remember that over communication is good communication.

When creating a meeting invite with Google Calendar you will want to make sure you include:

- The meeting location. If you use common meeting spaces at your school talk with your G Suite administrator about setting up a calendar for a shared space (instructions for setting this up) . Setting this up will help avoid double booking of rooms.

- A brief description as to why you are meeting. No one should enter the meeting without knowing the purpose of the meeting.

- Your desired outcomes for the meeting. Your desired outcomes are what you hope to accomplish by the end of the meeting.

- If necessary any prework that needs to get done beforehand to ensure a productive meeting. This is not necessary but it can be helpful if you are limited on time to meet.

For more ideas on how to run effective meetings check out Momentum by Mamie Kanfer Stewart and Tai Tsao.

Finding a time to meet

One of the most difficult parts about scheduling a meeting is find the time to meet. Normally there are several emails sent back and forth before a time is agreed upon. In the video below you will learn how to use Google Calendar to quickly find a time to meet. This is a huge time saver!

Keep running notes in one document

Every meeting, coaching session, etc. does not need a new Google Doc. Consider keeping a running log of all your agenda in one document. You can organize your notes using a table of contents. You can create your table of contents in a Google Doc by using bookmarks or headings. I am quickly becoming a fan of using headings because you can update your table of contents with one click.

How to create a running agenda using bookmarks

How to create a running agenda using a table of contents and headings

Use Action Items to Guarantee Follow Through

When you are in a meeting there are normally a lot of great ideas thrown out or items that people take ownership over. The problem is unless we document these in our agenda we tend to forget what we volunteered for. Lucky for us Google Docs has a helpful tool called Action Items. In the video below you will learn how you can assign action items by simply adding Todo: or AI: to your meeting notes.